Italy Road Trips

The Ultimate Guide to an Amalfi Coast Road Trip

An Amalfi Coast road trip is truly a feast for the senses. As you wind your way along the cliffside roads, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the shimmering Mediterranean sea below. The towns perched on the hillsides are like something out of a postcard, with brightly colored buildings stacked on top of each other and charming little alleyways leading to hidden gems.

The Amalfi Coast road showing a tunnel through the mountain and the Tyrrhenian Sea arm of the Mediterranean sea in the background

The beauty of the Amalfi Coast is not just in the scenery, though – it’s in the atmosphere. There’s something magical about the way the sunlight plays off the waves, the sound of church bells echoing through the narrow streets, and the scent of lemon trees in the air. It’s a sensory experience that stays with you long after you’ve left.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what you can see on an Amalfi Coast road trip, including the different towns you can visit, what it’s like to drive, and whether a boat tour might be a better option for some travelers. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or just dreaming of one, this post will give you a taste of the magic that awaits on the Amalfi Coast.

Why take an Amalfi Coast road trip?

The Amalfi Coast is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Its natural beauty has drawn in travelers for centuries, from writers and artists seeking inspiration to vacationers seeking relaxation. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that it’s a favorite destination for people from all walks of life.

Whether you’re a history buff looking to explore ancient ruins, a foodie searching for the perfect pizza, or a beach lover hoping to soak up some sun, the Amalfi Coast has something for you. Get ready to hit the road and discover the magic of this enchanting corner of Italy.

What and Where is the Amalfi Coast?

The Amalfi Coast is a 50-kilometer stretch of Italian coastline that runs from Positano in the west to Vietri sul Mare in the east. Along the way, you’ll encounter some of the most stunning views in Italy. The road winds its way up and down the cliffs, offering glimpses of sparkling blue sea and charming towns perched precariously on the hillsides. It’s a drive that’s not for the faint of heart, but the reward is well worth it.

The Amalfi Coast is made up of 13 villages: Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Maiori, Minori, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare. Several of these towns are a must-visit on an Amalfi Coast road trip. Here are just a few of the most popular.

1. Positano

Positano, Italy showing buildings set into the hillside, the dome of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, and people on the beach called Spiaggia Grande

With its pastel-colored houses and narrow, winding streets, this picturesque town is undeniably one of the most famous on the Amalfi Coast, and it’s not hard to see why. Its striking beauty makes it a favorite destination for many, and the enchanting atmosphere of the town has made it a popular choice for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience.

One of the most iconic sights in Positano is the Spiaggia Grande, a long and wide beach lined with colorful umbrellas and loungers. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of water sports to try, such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

Positano is also home to some of the best shopping on the coast. The town is known for its high-end boutiques and artisanal shops selling everything from handmade sandals to beautiful ceramics. If you’re a foodie, be sure to sample the local limoncello, a sweet and tangy liqueur made from lemons grown on the coast.

If you’re a fan of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, you’ll be familiar with Positano, as it was one of the settings and filming locations. In fact, that movie was the very reason my husband and I first decided to visit Tuscany and, specifically, Positano!

2. Praiano

The town of Praiano, Italy as seen through the trees from above

Nestled between Positano and Amalfi, Praiano is a small and peaceful town that offers a more laid-back experience than some of the other towns on the coast. Praiano is known for its rugged coastline and crystal-clear waters, making it a great spot for snorkeling and swimming.

Praiano is also home to several noteworthy churches and historical sites. The Church of San Luca Evangelista, with its striking blue dome, is a must-visit. You may want to explore the Grotta dell’Incanto, a sea cave that can be accessed by boat and features stunning rock formations and crystal-clear waters.

Praiano is known for its delicious seafood, with plenty of restaurants serving up fresh catches of the day.

3. Conca dei Marini

The town of Conca dei Marini, Italy, with fishing boats in the water

Located between Amalfi and Praiano, Conca dei Marini is a small and charming village that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions. The town is situated on a hill overlooking the sea, and its narrow streets and white-washed houses give it a traditional and authentic feel.

One of the main attractions in Conca dei Marini is the Grotta dello Smeraldo, or the Emerald Cave. This sea cave is accessible by boat and features a stunning emerald green color caused by the reflection of sunlight through the water. Visitors can take a boat tour of the cave and admire the beauty of the natural surroundings.

In addition to the Emerald Cave, Conca dei Marini is also home to the beautiful church of Santa Maria di Grado. The church dates back to the 12th century and features stunning Byzantine-style mosaics that are a must-see for art and history lovers.

For those looking to soak up the sun and enjoy the sea, Conca dei Marini offers several small beaches that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. You can also take a hike along the Path of the Gods, a scenic trail that offers breathtaking views of the coast and the sea.

4. Amalfi

The village of Amalfi, Italy, with buildings set against the mountainside, and the ocean in the foreground

This town gives its name to the entire coast, and it’s easy to see why. The main square, Piazza del Duomo, is dominated by a stunning cathedral with a striking bell tower. The church is a mix of architectural styles, with elements of both Byzantine and Romanesque design. If you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the Museo Archeologico, which houses artifacts from the town’s ancient past.

One of the best ways to explore Amalfi is on foot. The town has plenty of narrow alleys and staircases to discover, each one more charming than the last. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a hike up to the nearby Valle delle Ferriere, a beautiful nature reserve with waterfalls and lush vegetation.

5. Ravello

Ravello, Italy, a tree and flowers in the foreground, with the Amalfi Coast and the ocean behind it

If you’re looking for a more serene experience, Ravello is the town for you. It’s situated high above the coast and boasts some of the most stunning views in the area. The town is home to several beautiful gardens, including the famous Villa Cimbrone. The gardens are filled with sculptures and fountains, and the views from the belvedere are simply breathtaking.

Ravello is also a cultural hub, with several music and arts festivals throughout the year. One of the most famous is the Ravello Festival, which takes place in the summer and features concerts and performances by international artists.

6. Vietri sul Mare

Vietri sul Mare, Italy, showing the town, palm trees, mountains, and the sea

Located at the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast, Vietri sul Mare is known for its stunning ceramics and colorful houses that line the coastline. One of the main attractions in Vietri sul Mare is the church of San Giovanni Battista, which dates back to the 17th century and features beautiful frescoes and artwork.

Vietri sul Mare is also known for its beautiful beaches. The town has several small beaches that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing, including Marina di Vietri and Spiaggia della Crestarella. You can also take a stroll along the town’s picturesque promenade, which offers stunning views of the sea and the colorful houses that line the coastline.

What It’s Like to Drive on the Amalfi Coast

While an Amalfi Coast road trip can be a thrilling adventure, it’s important to be aware that driving can be challenging. The roads along the coast are narrow and winding, with many hairpin turns and steep inclines. In addition, traffic can be heavy during peak tourist season, making it difficult to navigate the roads.

It’s also worth noting that there are restrictions on driving for tourists on certain days of the week. During the high season, traffic can be so heavy that local authorities restrict access to the coast road, allowing only vehicles with special permits to drive. If you’re planning to rent a car for your trip, it’s important to check the driving restrictions in advance to avoid any surprises.

Despite the challenges, many travelers find that driving on the Amalfi Coast is an unforgettable experience. The stunning views of the coastline and the sea are well worth the effort, and the opportunity to explore the charming towns and villages along the way is an added bonus.

If you do decide to drive on the Amalfi Coast, it’s important to take your time and be patient. It’s easy to feel rushed and overwhelmed by the traffic and the winding roads, but it’s important to stay calm and focused. Be sure to follow local driving laws and customs, such as yielding to oncoming traffic on narrow roads.

Finding parking can also be a challenge on the Amalfi Coast, particularly in popular tourist areas like Positano and Amalfi. One tip is to look for parking in less popular areas and then take public transportation or walk to your destination. Many towns also offer shuttle buses or tourist trains that can help you get around without having to drive yourself.

Overall, while driving on the Amalfi Coast can be challenging, it’s also a rewarding and unforgettable experience that offers the chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Italy.

Alternatives to Driving

If driving sounds too difficult, you may wish to consider alternatives. If you still want to do it by car, but don’t want to accept the challenge of driving it yourself, you can hire a private driver. Or, instead, you can take a boat tour or travel from town to town using the ferry.

Amalfi Coast Boat Tours

Boat tours offer a relaxing and scenic way to take in the stunning views of the cliffs, sea, and towns from the water. One of the benefits of a boat tour is the ability to visit smaller towns like Furore and Conca dei Marini that are only accessible by boat. However, it’s worth noting that a boat tour does have its downsides. While you’ll be able to see the towns from the water, you won’t be able to explore them at your own pace. Additionally, boat tours can be quite expensive, particularly during peak tourist season.

Despite the downsides, many travelers find that a boat tour is a highlight of their Amalfi Coast trip. The chance to see the stunning cliffs and towns from the water is truly unforgettable.

Amalfi Coast by Ferry

Another option for exploring the Amalfi Coast is to take a ferry. Ferries run regularly between the towns along the coast, providing a convenient and affordable way to see the sights.

One of the advantages of taking a ferry is the opportunity to take in the stunning views of the coastline from the water. As you travel between the towns, you’ll be able to appreciate the dramatic cliffs, sparkling sea, and charming villages from a unique perspective.

If you’re particularly interested in visiting the town of Amalfi, taking a ferry is a great option. The town is situated on a natural harbor and has a long history as a maritime power. As you approach Amalfi from the water, you’ll see the impressive 9th-century Duomo di Sant’Andrea (Cathedral of Saint Andrew), which dominates the town’s skyline.

Once you arrive in Amalfi, you can explore the town’s narrow streets, picturesque piazzas, and historic landmarks at your own pace. Be sure to check out the Museo della Carta (Museum of Paper), which showcases the town’s tradition of papermaking.

Overall, taking a ferry is a great way to experience the Amalfi Coast. Whether you’re interested in seeing the coastline from the water or exploring the charming town of Amalfi, a ferry ride is a convenient and enjoyable way to do so.


An Amalfi Coast road trip is an unforgettable experience, offering travelers the chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Italy. From the stunning cliffs and sparkling sea to the charming towns and delicious food, there is something for everyone along this picturesque stretch of coastline.

Whether you choose to explore the Amalfi Coast by car, boat, or ferry, be sure to take your time and soak up the beauty of the area. Drive carefully, take in the views, and savor the local cuisine. And if you’re looking for a truly unique perspective, don’t hesitate to take a boat tour or ferry ride to see the coastline from the water.

In the end, an Amalfi Coast road trip is a must-do for anyone visiting Italy. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

California Travel

16 Best San Francisco Souvenirs and Gifts

San Francisco is one of those iconic destinations within the United States that every traveler has heard of. Popular San Francisco sites like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Transamerica Pyramid, and cable cars immediately invoke the city in everyone’s minds. So when you take a trip to Frisco, you probably want to pick up some San Francisco souvenirs. We’re here to help you know what to choose!

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

The list below will give you some great ideas of things to take back home for yourself or as San Francisco gifts for loved ones.

San Francisco Food and Drink

Lots of people like to bring back food gifts from San Francisco. If this sounds good to you, read on, as there are some really great options.

Chocolate – Ghiradelli Chocolate is a quintessential part of San Francisco due to its location on Ghirardelli Square not far from Fisherman’s Wharf. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a great way to extend the enjoyment of your trip even after you get back home. See’s Candies is another great brand. And, as most people like chocolate, it’s a great idea for gifts from San Francisco.

Wine – The city isn’t far from the renowned wine country locations of Sonoma and Napa Valley, not to mention other great grape-growing regions in the state. So it’s easy to find great wineries and their wines when you visit the Golden Gate City!

Chocolates are a great San Francisco souvenir

Coffee – there are several amazing coffee companies in San Francisco, including Four Barrel Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee. Bring back a bag of beans and enjoy even after your vacation ends.

Craft Beer – not to be outdone by Colorado or Oregon, California produces some amazing craft beers itself. Pick up some from local breweries Russian River Brewing Company, Cellarmaker Brewing Company, and Black Hammer Brewing.

Olive Oil – the climate near San Francisco is perfect for growing olives, so bring back some locally-grown olive oil to enjoy back home. Stonehouse Olive Oil is a good one to try.

Fog Point Vodka – if you like spirits, you may really like this unique one…it’s made from San Francisco fog! Produced by Hangar 1.

Boudin’s Sourdough Bread – it won’t keep for long, but if you tried it and loved it, make sure to grab another loaf to take home. Or eat it on the plane. We won’t judge. (They have a location inside the SFO airport!)

Clothing and Accessories

Levi’s – the famous denim brand Levi’s started in San Francisco, so why not grab a pair of vintage Levi’s from their store on Market Street?

Back pocket and label of a pair of Levi jeans

Ball Cap – sports fan? Grab a San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Sharks, or Golden State Warriors ball cap, so you can show everyone that you visited. You can even doff it on the plane ride back home!

T-Shirts – San Francisco T shirts souvenirs are another popular choices. Whether you want a “muni” shirt, a sports team jersey, or something showing one of the Frisco sites, there will be lots of choices.

San Francisco-themed Tchotchkes

If you collect snow globes, figurines, Christmas ornaments, or other trinkets, then one that signifies parts of the city would be perfect for your collection. Look for trinkets that feature any of the following:

Golden Gate Bridge – even if you haven’t been to San Fran, you’ll probably recognize the Golden Gate Bridge. This one would be easily recognizable on your shelf!

Cable Cars – San Francisco is known for its electric cable cars, and it’s easy to find memorabilia that features them. It’s an extra-fun way to help you remember your own time riding these classic methods of transportation!

Two cable carts on a street in San Francisco

Haight-Ashbury District – known as a hangout for hippies in the 1960s, Haight-Ashbury is associated with acts like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. If you’re a modern-day hippie, a poster or t-shirt of Haight-Ashbury is perfect for you!

Lombard Street – this winding, hilly street is another sight people associate with San Francisco in their minds, so a magnet or mug featuring the street is spot on.

Other San Francisco Souvenirs

Perhaps you’re looking for something a bit less touristy, but that still reminds you of your California travels. Here are some ideas:

Books – a hardcover copy of a book relating to California is a great option. Consider novels by John Steinbeck (who from Salinas), The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (set in San Francisco), or for kids, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (of Percy Jackson fame). Here are some other great book choices!

Stacks of vinyl albums for sale in a record store

Classic Vinyl or even a CD – if you’re into vintage music formats, an album or CD by a band who got their start in S.F. is another options. Artists to consider: Journey, 4 Non Blondes, Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, Metallica, or as mentioned above, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.

Non-Themed Items – perhaps you enjoy shopping, and would like to make a purchase that isn’t itself necessarily San Francisco themed. No problem! Check out some local shopping areas like Mission District, Market Street, Union Street, Japantown, and Hayes Valley. You’re sure to find a cute store (that’s not a touristy San Francisco souvenirs shop!), with the perfect item that you’ll cherish for years to come.

The touristy areas will have more of the trinkets you might buy for fun or gifts. You’ll find the best San Francisco gift shop at Pier 39, for example.

We hope this list has helped you decide what you might want to purchase, whether your planning in advance or trying to make a last-minute purchase. These are the best souvenirs from San Francisco, because they are perfect mementos of your travels. They’re also great for friends and family back home who may feel special that you’ve thought to bring them back something from your travels.

Florida Travel

A Delightful Weekend in Tequesta, Florida (Itinerary!)

My husband and I took a weekend trip – just us for once! – to Tequesta, Florida last summer. Tequesta is a small town just north of Jupiter, on the east coast as you start to get into South Florida. While Jupiter is more commercial, Tequesta has an old-world Florida feel.

That’s exactly what we were looking for! We booked a room at the privately-owned Tequesta Palms Inn, a motel with only eight rooms. We loved it! They have great reviews online, and we found them to be 100% true. The room was clean and comfortable, with a small kitchenette area that had a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. There was lots of room, and the property was quiet yet had easy access to everything we wanted to do.

There are lots of things to do in Tequesta, from outdoor pursuits to fine dining. Tequesta restaurants are incredible! Read on to find out more about our adventure-filled weekend.

Day 1 – Friday

We live in central Florida, so the drive down took about 2 hours, mostly on I-95, but after cutting over, the rest was on US-1. Our first stop was to check out Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, just north of Tequesta. I knew it was a popular location for birdwatching and I wanted to get a feel for it.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Florida state parks have a small admission fee, which we paid at the entrance. We then made our way to the “majestic” Hobe Mountain. At 86 feet tall, Hobe Mountain is the highest point in South Florida. Needless to say, you don’t need to train to reach the top of it!

Hobe Mountain
The path leading up to the lookout tower on Hobe Mountain

Hobe Mountain is actually an ancient sand dune. Climbing it just involves walking on a boardwalk and climbing some stairs to the lookout tower. But you get a really nice view of the surrounding land from this viewpoint.

The View from the top of the tower on Hobe Mountain
The View from the top of the tower on Hobe Mountain

We didn’t see many birds here, but it wasn’t the best time of day, either. The park is quite large, with several areas for camping, which seemed popular. In fact, the state park website says it’s ranked #2 for RV camping. Near the campgrounds, the park has access to the Loxahatchee River, which is popular for kayaking. canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding, all of which you can rent at the park.

You can also take a boat tour to see more of the area and learn some history in the area, such as the shipwrecked merchant for whom the park is named, and Vince “Trapper” Nelson, known as Tarzan of the Loxahatchee, who founded a zoo nearby that was shut down in 1960.

I definitely would like to go back and spend more time exploring the park in a more leisurely fashion. On this trip, we left after about an hour, so we could check into the hotel and then proceed to dinner.

Our room at the Tequesta Palms Inn
Our room at the Tequesta Palms Inn

Date Night Dinner at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant

We had made advance reservations at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant for dinner. My husband was super excited about it, and they did not disappoint! We were greeted by their friendly staff on arrival, who immediately showed us to our table. We ordered drinks and then began to peruse the menu. It took awhile to decide because everything looked so good!

In case you’re not familiar with them, tapas are small plates meant to be shared. They originated in Andalucia, Spain, and were originally meant to place on top of your wine glass to prevent flies from getting in it while patrons were slowing sipping their drinks. Here’s a great post on the origins of tapas!

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Stuffed Piquillo Peppers at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant

Pete’s favorite dish was the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, shown above. I don’t love peppers, but this was certainly the best pepper dish I’d ever eaten! My favorite was the Montadito Solomillo, which is filet mignon, manchego cheese, caramelized onions, and honey walnuts on toast, shown below.

Montadito Solomillo at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Montadito Solomillo at Andalucía Tapas Bar & Restaurant

We also had Montaditos Tomaka, Patatas Bravas, and for dessert, both the dulce de leche empanadas and chocolate lava cake. Absolutely everything we tried was amazing!

The restaurant also serves some full-size plates, and has incredible-looking paellas.

Tequesta Brewing Co.

I love visiting breweries, so our last stop of the night was Tequesta Brewing Company. I was excited to see that this small town had their own brewery!

I tried two brews this evening, and we stopped by back quickly on Saturday as well, where I had a third. Gnarly Barley was my favorite; it’s a hazy double IPA. My husband enjoyed the seltzer they had on tap as well. I didn’t write down the name, but it was a guest tap.

Inside is kind of dark and bar-like rather than pub-like; I didn’t much care for it. But they have a porch out front that we enjoyed much more. The atmosphere was casual and the other patrons seemed friendly, too. All in all, I’m glad we stopped in!

Day 2 – Saturday

Breakfast at Bagel Bistro

The next morning we had a kayak tour scheduled, so we left early and stopped at Bagel Bistro for breakfast. It’s a counter-service restaurant featuring bagels (obviously!) as well as omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and crepes. It was a perfect spot for a quick bite, and I have to give them kudos because their bagel with lox was excellent! South Florida is probably second only to NYC for a good bagel with lox.

Clear Kayaking Tour

After breakfast, we headed toward the lighthouse, specifically Cato’s Bridge, for our clear kayak tour. We had scheduled a tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking, and after taking this tour, we can say they’re an awesome company to work with!

Clear Kayaks in Jupiter, Florida
Clear Kayaks

This far south, the Intracoastal Waterway has great visibility, so getting to paddle a clear kayak is super fun. I always enjoy being out on the water, but this was a brand-new experience.

We were able to see lots of marine life both through the clear boat itself and looking off the sides of the boat. We saw a gorgeous green sea turtle right beside our kayak! We also saw starfish and sea stars, fighting conch, moon jellyfish, and in the mangroves, both great blue and little blue herons.

Sea turtle swimming in the water beside our kayak
Sea turtle swimming in the water beside our kayak
Fighting conch
Fighting conch
Moon jellyfish
Moon jellyfish only have a mild sting that many people don’t even notice

Water sports are a big part of Florida life, as evidenced by the other people out enjoying the intracoastal. We saw people fishing, paddleboarding, boating, and even free swimming.

Lunch at Bellini’s Eatery

Two slices of pizza at Bellini's Eatery
Two slices of pizza at Bellini’s Eatery

Kayaking for a couple of hours really worked up our appetites! So we headed to Bellini’s Eatery for lunch. I was craving pizza and Bellini’s really came through. They had a number of different kinds and you can order by the slice, so you can get more than once. They also have wings, burgers, sandwiches, and Italian entrees.

Blowing Rocks and Coral Cove Park

We had kayaked in the intracoastal during the morning, but we still hadn’t gotten out to see the beach. I really wanted to go to Blowing Rocks Preserve. It was really crowded, unfortunately, so Pete idled in the car while I walked through to the beach to check it out.

Blowing Rocks, Jupiter, Florida
Blowing Rocks

Blowing Rocks is a Nature Conservancy property on the coast in Jupiter. When the tide comes in, it hits the large coquina rocks and the water sprays upwards. It’s quite a display! (OK I decided to hit Google and make sure they are coquina rocks. They’re actually Anastasia limestone, but it seems to have some relation to coquina. If you’re reading this and know anything about rocks, please explain this to me!)

If you want to go to Blowing Rocks, I’d suggest arranging to do it earlier. We talked about going back on Sunday morning, but decided against it. Parking is limited and if you can’t get a spot, you can’t go. So do a better job of prioritizing it than we did!

Coral Cove Park, Jupiter, Florida, Atlantic ocean with palm tree and grass in the foreground
Coral Cove Park, Jupiter, Froida

After we left Blowing Rocks, we went south again to Coral Cove Park. It’s a county park with a picnic area, a playground, and of course, the beach! I think this beach might be better at low tide, though. We were close to high tide and there wasn’t much beach – and the sand was HOT. There are a lot of rocks here too, so it’s not good for swimming or body surfing. But it’s beautiful and I’m glad we stopped by.

Dinner at PapiChulo Tacos

After the beach, we went back to our lodgings to get cleaned up for dinner. We had a little time to spare, so we sat outside in the little seating area at the motel. It was a beautiful afternoon and a nice way to chill out after our busy but fun morning.

Exterior of PapiChulo Tacos  restaurant
Exterior of PapiChulo Tacos restaurant

For dinner, we choose PapiChulo Tacos. Yum! They are known for their street tacos, which come in a variety of styles with different meats and various toppings. The puerco and barbacoa ones were our favorites. And their street corn was so good! And their margaritas were unique and fun; they’re served with an orchid on top. I got the El Dorado, which has blackberries and basil. Pete went with the Papi Rita, a classic lime margarita. Both were delicious.

Our margaritas at PapiChulo Tacos
Margaritas at PapiChulo Tacos
Taco at PapiChulo Tacos
One our our delicious tacos

We really liked the atmosphere and décor too. PapiChulo is a fun place!

DuBois Park

After dinner we drove around Jupiter for a bit. We went by Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf, but it was packed, so we didn’t stop. (There’s one in Cocoa Beach too, so we don’t feel like we missed out.) We ended up at DuBois Park, which was really nice! It has a great view of the lighthouse. The DuBois pioneer home on the premises has been preserved and they offer tours of the building. It wasn’t open this late in the day, but we enjoyed walking around the property too.

DuBois pioneer home at Dubois Park in Jupiter
DuBois pioneer home

Day 3 – Sunday


We cheated on Sunday and went to Starbucks in nearby Jupiter. We had decided to head back home rather than spending part of Sunday in the area as well. However, we did stop for a hike before completely checking out for the day!

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge

Hobe Sound NWR was on our way home, so we planned to stop and hike and hopefully see some birds too. When we got there, we took a quick walk down to the beach first. It wasn’t the ocean, though. At the time I thought it was Peck’s Lake, but I think instead it was another part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Whatever it was, it was easy to get to and the view was worth it; very pretty!

Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, intracoastal waterway

We turned around and went back to the parking lot, then decided to hike the Sand Pine Scrub Nature Trail. It was a fun hike with some surprising elevation changes. Nothing too crazy – this is still south Florida after all – but enough to make it fun! Not a ton of birds, though we got a good look at two pileated woodpeckers, which are always a joy to observe.

Jupiter Lighthouse

You may notice we didn’t go to the Jupiter Lighthouse on this trip. We’d already done that once before, and didn’t feel drawn to do it again. But if it’s your first time there, I highly recommend it too! It’s open to the public and you can climb all the way to the top. Definitely consider working it into your itinerary. Afterwards, you might grab lunch or dinner at Guanabanas, a fun and popular dining location (which we’d also been to before).

3-Day Tequesta, Florida Travel Itinerary

If you’re looking to make your own trip to Tequesta, look no further than this itinerary! It’s almost exactly the same as ours, but for someone who has never visited the area before.

Day 1:

  • If driving from the north, stop at Jonathan Dickinson State Park
  • Arrival and Hotel Check-in
  • Date Night Dinner at Andalucía Tapas Bar
  • Drinks at Tequesta Brewing Co.

Day 2:

  • Breakfast at Bagel Bistro
  • Clear Kayaking Tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking
  • Lunch at Bellini’s Eatery
  • Visit Coral Cove Park or DuBois Park
  • Return to hotel to shower and get ready for dinner
  • Dinner at PapiChulo Tacos
  • Putt-Putt at Lighthouse Cove, or visit Coral Cove Park or DuBois Park

Day 3:


No matter whether you live a short drive away like we do, or you’re flying in from out of state (or out of country!), Tequesta is certainly a Florida destination you’ll enjoy. You won’t find Orlando’s theme parks or Miami’s nightlife, but the old-world charm of Tequesta is very appealing.

It’s also not far from other major Florida destinations, including the superb shopping areas in South Florida.


London’s Wacky-but-Wonderful Skyscrapers

London is known for its history and culture, but also as a center of the business and finance world. Supporting this are a number of skyscrapers that dominate the skyline. And while London may not boast any of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, it definitely can claim the most unusual looking!

So the next time you visit England, make sure to take in these incredible sights.

London skyline showing some of its oddly-shaped skyscrapers

Unusual Buildings in London

Some of London’s skyscrapers have really unique shapes, making them some of the most recognizable buildings in the world. And while they all of regular names and addresses, the odd shapes have given rise to some really funny nicknames. In fact, most of these buildings are better known by their nicknames than their real names.

So while you may know The Empire State Building in New York City, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, you’re more likely to hear London’s skyscrapers as The Shard, The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater, and The Walkie Talkie!

The Shard, London
The Shard, London

1. The Shard

Real Name: The Shard

Built: 2009-2012

Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, United Kingdom

The Shard is located in Southwark, near the Tower of London, and is often shown in cityscape photographs that include London Bridge. It is also known as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge, and by its original name, London Bridge Tower. It’s official name is actually, yes, The Shard. And it’s easy to see why – the building looks like a shard remaining after a (very large) piece of glass was broken!

The Shard is truly an international accomplishment, being of Italian architecture, and jointly owned by a British property group and the country of Qatar! As the tallest building in London, it dominates the cityscape. It is 72 storeys tall, or 309.6 meters / 1,016 feet. The 31st-33rd floors are home to restaurants that will give you a brilliant aerial view of the city: Oblix, Hutong, and Aqua Shard. Above that, on floors 34-52, is the Shangri-La Hotel. Most other tenants are companies occupying office space, but The Shard is also home to the Al Jazeera English television station.

You’ll often see The Shard in cityscape photographs that include the historic London Bridge, as well as the shorter, round building that is London City Hall. Though not a skyscraper, London City Hall has its own unique bulbous shape designed for energy efficiency. London City Hall no longer houses the Greater London Authority, but is the home to a number of offices and shops.

The Gherkin, London
30 St. Mary Axe aka The Gherkin, London

2. The Gherkin

Real Name: 30 St Mary Axe

Built: 2001-2003

Address: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF, United Kingdom

My guess is that 30 St. Mary Axe is the most recognizable skyscraper in London, due to its unusual shape. If you don’t know, its nickname of “The Gherkin” refers to a small pickle, and that’s exactly what it looks like! An alternate description of egg-shaped is often used as well.

The Gherkin is located in the financial district of London. At 41 floors, it is much shorter than The Shard, coming in at 180 meters / 591 feet in height. Most of the tenants are private offices and as such, the majority of The Gherkin isn’t open to the public. You can, however, enjoy a restaurant called Helix on the top floor, which will give you panoramic views of greater London. There’s also a bar called Isis on the top floor.

Its shape is only one of the energy-savings aspects in its design. For example, it has six shafts that run through each floor (except those that serve as fire breaks), and they creating a double-glazing effect, insulating the inside air.

The building has no fewer than 18 elevators (or “lifts” in Brit-speak) that can carry 378 people each and move at a speed of 6 meters per second!

Previously on the same site was a building known as the Baltic Exchange. It was damaged by bombs set off in 1992 by the Provisional IRA (a splinter of the original IRA, or Irish Republican Army, responsible for all of the terrorism in North Ireland that went up into the 1990s.) The building was so damaged that it couldn’t be saved, which made room for the construction of The Gherkin in 2001.

The Cheesegrater, London
122 Leadenhall Street aka The Cheesegrater, London

3. The Cheesegrater

Real Name: Leadenhall Building

Built: 2013-2014

Address: 122 Leadenhall Street, 122 Leadenhall St, London EC3V 4AB, United Kingdom

Another famous London skyscraper, affectionately known as The Cheesegrater, is a short two-minute walk from The Gherkin. Officially known as the Leadenhall Building, the exterior does indeed look like a box grater you’d pick up at any home goods store! It’s situated between the Gherkin and the Leadenhall Market, a prime area for shopping and dining.

122 Leadenhall Street is 225 meters / 738 feet tall, putting it roughly halfway between The Gherkin and The Shard in terms of height. It has 48 floors, though above 45 is all service space for things like water heaters and generators.

Most of the building is occupied by office space, but if you’re interested, step inside the seven-storey atrium to have a look around. There is also a restaurant called Bob Bob Ricard on the premises, that features an incredible flamboyant yet nautical interior design, a call-for-champagne button at every table, and a delicious menu that is surprisingly affordable given the location. Although, it should be noted that the restaurant is on the third floor, so you won’t get any amazing birds-eye views of the city. That’s ok; your eyes will be riveted by the food in drink in front of you!

London's Walkie Talkie skyscraper
The Fenchurch Building, aka the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in London

4. The Walkie Talkie

Real Name: The Fenchurch Building

Built: 2009-2014

Address: 20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF, United Kingdom

20 Fenchurch St, also known at the Walkie Talkie, is another London skyscraper known for its weird shape. Yes, it looks like the handheld communication device, and is smaller at the bottom than the top. The reason is that the developer wanted to maximize available square footage in the limited ground space available. Since it’s also in the financial district, a 5-minute walk south from The Cheesegrater will put you right at 20 Fenchurch.

Although the Walkie Talkie is a landmark building with an unusual design, but not something dear to the hearts of most Londoners. In 2015 it won the un-coveted award called The Carbuncle Cup, a humorous competition to determine the ugliest building in the United Kingdom! In addition to being ugly (which could be debated), it has presented some more serious concerns. The heat created by the building is enormous, and supposedly someone was even able to fry an egg on the sidewalk outside the building. Additionally, the overhanging design caused a street-level wind tunnel effect, which was obviously displeasing to those who had to walk by it, not to mention any street vendors nearby!

The one possible bright side of the Walkie Talkie is the Sky Garden at the very top. The large indoor greenspace was designed to be London’s highest park. It can be quite beautiful inside, but like the building itself, the Sky Garden is highly criticized. Some have compared it to a large departure terminal, while Vice has gone so far as to claim it as a symbol of inequality, due to the fact you can only book entry online.

All in all, 20 Fenchurch is at best a curiosity.

The Scalpel skyscraper in London
The Scalpel (pyramid-like building on the left) and Lloyd’s on the right

5. The Scalpel

Real Name: The Scalpel

Built: 2015-2018

Address: 52 Lime St, London EC3M 2RY, United Kingdom

52 Lime Street, aka The Scalpel, is in the financial district and nearby many of the other buildings listed above. It soars to a height of 190 meters / 620 feet tall, boasting 38 floors above ground level. The name comes from its angular design and was bestowed on the project by The Financial Times…and it stuck to become the building’s official name.

There’s no viewing deck, rooftop bar, or restaurant. Buf if you find yourself in the area, make sure to stop by Red Lion Coffee at the base of The Scalpel.

Willis Building aka The Prawn
Willis Building aka The Prawn

6. The Prawn

Real Name: The Willis Building

Built: 2004-2008

Address: 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 5AD, United Kingdom

The Willis Building is just next door to The Scalpel. The nickname comes from its design of overlapping curved sections that resemble seashells. Apparently, the architects Foster + Partners don’t much care for the moniker!

Lloyds, aka the Inside-Out Building. The prawn and the Scalpel can also be seen on the left side.
Lloyds, aka the Inside-Out Building

7. The Inside-Out Building

Real Name: The Lloyd’s Building

Built: 1978-1986

Address: 1 Lime St, London EC3M 7HA, United Kingdom

Lloyds of London, whose home is affectionately known as the Inside-Out building, is the OG of odd London skyscrapers. Its construction began in 1978 but not completed until 1986. in 2011, it became a Grade 1 listed building, a big deal for architecture in the UK. It was (at the time) the youngest building ever to receive the designation.

The nickname is due to the fact that many of the building’s service features, such as staircases and elevators, ductwork, power conduits and water pipes, are all on the exterior. Unfortunately, that has meant higher maintenance costs for the building. Inside is a 60-meter high atrium that is criss-crossed by escalators, but they don’t reach the higher floors.

Tours of the building are not offered.


As you can see, London is creative not only for the design of its skyscrapers, but also for their nicknames. Love them or hate them, the buildings and their names are hear to stay. Which is your favorite – or your least favorite?

Personally, I delight in seeing the modern buildings juxtaposed with historical architecture of The Tower of London and various churches that are among or around the skyscrapers. Would I have designed it that way? Probably not, but since they didn’t ask, I choose to enjoy what I can!

United States

Best Places for Shopping in Asheville, North Carolina

If you are visiting Asheville – or if you’re lucky enough to live there – you may be curious about the best places to go shopping in Asheville. Whether you’re looking for chain stores or unique boutiques, Asheville has a bit of something for everyone. So with your goals in mind, consider these amazing shopping venues in the “Land of the Sky” – Asheville, North Carolina.

Shopping in Asheville

We most recently visited Asheville in the summer of 2022. It was a big family trip, with three generations coming together for some rest and relaxation. We had our teen daughters with us, and of course they wanted to do some shopping, especially for back-to-school items. But I was also hoping to find some unique gifts for friends, as well as some items for myself, too.

And we all succeeded! They found some great clothes, I picked up the perfect gifts, and we all enjoyed an afternoon on the town.

Here are some of our favorite shopping areas and stores in Asheville.

1. Downtown

If you only have time to go shopping in once part of the city, make it downtown. They have such amazing, cute shops, but also some chain stores as well. There are some really cool breweries and restaurants, and downtown just has such an amazing vibe. You’re sure to find a place you absolutely love.

Wall Street street sign in Downtown Asheville

You can find a few chain stores downtown, typically more youthful and/or hip brands like Anthropologie, Ten Thousand Villages, Urban Outfitters, and Mast General Store.

But the real gems here are the more local stores. Some that I enjoyed are:

  • Indo Apparel, which has a head shop / live music vibe with lots of Grateful Dead items
  • Frock Boutique, mostly clothes (and great jeans!) plus some gifts
  • Chevron Trading Post & Bead Co – beads and jewelry-making items
  • Asheville Bee Charmer – local grown honey and bee-related gifts
  • Curio Toy Store – I can’t resist a good toy store, and this one definite qualifies

There are so many more shops – too many to list in one post, much less shop in a single week. So take some time and explore downtown to find the perfect small business to support!

Most stores are along Wall Street, Haywood Street, Lexington Avenue, and Broadway Street. You’ll also find a number of businesses inside the Grove Arcade. It’s downtown, but I’ve listed it separately, below.

2. Grove Arcade

You may recognize the name “Grove” around Asheville – the Grove Park Inn is a famous hotel that’s extremely popular to visit. Like the Inn, the Grove Arcade is named after E. W. Grove, who made his fortune after inventing a tasteless quinine drug in the late 1800s.

Interior of the Grove Arcade, people walking between shops

The Grove Arcade was built between 1920 and 1929. Unfortunately, Mr. Grove didn’t live to see its completion; nonetheless it’s now an Asheville icon he would surely be proud of. Technically, I suppose it’s an indoor shopping mall, but not like you think of in the glory days of the shopping malls in the 1980s and 90s. The Grove Arcade has beautiful architecture, and is a backdrop for its many stores, restaurants, and even residences.

Inside you will find shops like:

Adoratherapy – vegan and cruelty-free fragrances

Asheville NC Home Crafts – the coolest yarn shop you’ll ever visit

Blue Dharma Fine Art – an amazing little art gallery

Mission at the Grove – mission-style furniture and home goods

Roberto Coin – high-end jewelry from Italy; the Asheville location was his first boutique

Also make sure to browse through the Makers Market, located outside near the south exit, with homemade crafts and local produce.

3. Biltmore Village

Biltmore Village is located on the south side of Asheville, only a few minutes by car from the Biltmore Estate itself. There is complimentary parking and you don’t have to pay to enter the Biltmore Estate just to go shopping here. And that’s a good thing, because the Village shouldn’t be missed! Some shopping venues to enjoy are:

Romantique Home – home goods imported from the south of France

Provisions Mercantile – apparel, gifts, and home goods

Olde World Christmas Shoppe – if you need to pick up this year’s Christmas ornament for your tree, this is the place to do it!

Palm Village – A Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store – Lilly Pulitzer clothes. (I’m listing this under duress. I hate LP but so many of you like it so…have at it!!)

Gardners Cottage – a cute, unique home and garden store

You’ll also find several restaurants at the Biltmore villages, along with two more breweries, and the Casablanca cigar bar.

4. Southern Highland Craft Guild at the Folk Art Center

If you want to commemorate your trip to Western North Carolina with a quality purchase, one of the best places you can go is the Southern Highland Craft Guild. You’ll find it on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Folk Art Center, but they also have a shop at Biltmore Village and one on Tunnel Road – as well as a location at the Flat Top Manor in nearby Blowing Rock, NC.

Front entrance of the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina

The variety of crafts on display (and for purchase) will take your breath away. Personally, I could have spent all day just looking at the various quilts on display. (I don’t even sew…but they’re amazing!)’ The variety of crafts on display (and for purchase) will take your breath away.

This is actually where we got our yearly Christmas ornament, rather than in Biltmore Village – an angel made out of a dried okra pod. She’s really beautiful. They have gorgeous jewelry, woodworking items, home goods, fiber arts, and much more.

5. Antique stores

If you love antiques, Asheville is THE place to come shopping! You’ll want to visit the Biltmore Antiques District, which is near the Biltmore Village. You’ll find hundreds of dealers and several stores/malls in this area, where you can shop for antique furniture, jewelry, and art.

There are also a few antique stores downtown, so if you just want to try one or two places while shopping for other items, look for Lexington Park Antiques.

6. Asheville Mall

There’s also a traditional indoor shopping mall called the Asheville Mall, located on the west side of town. Here you’ll find many of the chain stores you expect in a mall of this type, including (but not limited to) Dillard’s, Belk, JC Penney, Victoria’s Secret, Zumiez, Zales, Simply Southern, Old Navy, Pacsun, and Lane Bryant. Click here for a complete directory on the mall’s website.

7. Outlet Malls

Finally, bargain hunters will love the Asheville Outlet Malls, on the southwest side of town. Look for deals on Coach, J. Crew, Kirkland’s, Levi Jeans, Lucky Brand Jeans (my favorite denim!), Nike, Osh Gosh B’Gosh, Pandora, Ralph Lauren, and more. You can find a complete directory on the outlet mall’s website.


As you can see, if you want to go shopping in Asheville, there are tons of places to choose. Even just narrowing it down to a location can be tough, not to mention finding the best stores that have exactly what you want. We hope this guide helps you find what you want, whether you are shopping for popular mass-produced goods or looking for that one-of-a-kind special purchase.

Digital Nomads

How to Make Money as a Travel Content Creator

You’ve heard about people who make money online or who get paid to travel the world, but you want to know: Can you do the same?

Many people want to travel, and their dream is to get paid to do it. Whether you want to be a travel content creator, a travel influencer, or both, this post will help you get started. We’ll explore the types of content you can create, how to publish it and get noticed, and how to make money doing it.

I’ve been publishing this blog for over a decade, but I only got serious about it in 2019. However, I have more than 20 years of freelancing and blogging experience under my belt – all without a “normal” full-time job. So I feel uniquely qualified to help you start down the same path!

Man traveling and taking photos or video

What is a Travel Content Creator?

It probably sounds obvious, but a travel content creator is someone who creates some kind of content related to travel.

The kinds of content you can create are totally up to you! Some common ideas are writing, photography, and videos. You may also make more creative kinds of content, such as drawings and illustrations. 

When choosing a type of content, consider a few things:

  1. What kind of content would you most enjoy creating?
  2. What kind of content would your audience be most likely to consume?
  3. How can you distribute that content and potentially make money by doing so?

For example, if you really enjoy writing, but find video creation too tedious (or daunting to even start), then you probably want to consider travel writing. You could distribute your writing in many different ways.

If you consider yourself a photographer, and you live to take photos of the amazing places you visit, then that could be a better path for you. Or if you truly love to create and consume video, which is super popular right now, then that’s gonna be your game!

Make sure you choose something that you won’t easily burn out on. If you hate to write, don’t try to become a travel writer. You might do it for a while but you’ll eventually decide you hate it and you won’t be motivated to continue. Choose something you love and you’ll be able to stick with it and have fun doing it at the same time.

Woman in dress and hat looking out over Barcelona, Spain

What is a Travel Influencer?

A travel influencer is similar to a travel content creator, but their specific goal is to reach other people, to inspire or educate, and likely make money when people consume their content.

Influencers are generally found on social media or other online outlets, which we’ll discuss below in the section about distributing your content.

Travel influencers often work with brands to help them gain recognition for their products among the influencer’s audience. They may or may not create their own content to do so.

You may think a travel influencer has to have a recognizable name (like the Kardashians) with a million followers. While that can help, brands are often more interested in the engagement of your followers rather than the number you have. So don’t discount this path even if you’re just getting started or don’t have a huge audience (yet).

Different Ways to Create Travel Content

How you create travel content will depend on what kind of content you want to create! Let’s look at the three most common kinds of travel content, and how you would create them.

Blank notebook surrounded by camera, hat, compass, and sunglasses


As a writer, there are lots of different ways to create and share your content. Writing blog posts is probably the most frequent, and you’ll find thousands of travel blogs across the web.

But blog posts aren’t the only thing you can write. You may choose instead to write magazine or newspaper articles. You may publish travel guides, either printed or online. You could even publish your own travel journals as a source of inspiration for others, and to share stories that resonate with your readers.

Writing is easy in the sense that it doesn’t require a lot of expensive or hard-to-carry equipment. You can use a laptop, or even a tablet or smartphone, or you can use an old-fashioned pencil and paper. (In fact, physically writing in a paper travel journal can be extremely rewarding!) 

Of course, becoming a good writer takes practice and dedication. So while the tools may come easy, the talent takes time to develop. 

Woman hiking in the mountains and taking a photo


Today’s smartphones make photography easier than it has ever been. Many content creators use nothing more than a great smartphone and editing apps/software to create amazing travel photos.

Other photographers stick with more professional mirrorless or DSLR cameras. In particular, if your content has long zoom requirements (such as wildlife photography), you may not be able to use your smartphone.

There are even some old-school photographers who still use film!

Most photographers rely on a variety of equipment. For me, that includes a DSLR camera (for now!), a variety of lenses included a telephoto lens, a recent-model iPhone, and software such as Lightroom, Topaz, and more.

When you’re traveling, keep an eye out for things you want to photograph, both for your own memories and to share with your audience. You’ll find there’s a lot of overlap. Practice your photography skills and you’ll find your content improving over time.

Man shooting selfie video


Videos can also be created using most modern smartphones. Although I’m not a video producer myself, I suspect most of them use a smartphone to shoot videos for both YouTube and social media. Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras can also shoot video. 

(There are also dedicated cameras for video production, so if you’re really doing something professional, that might be more up your alley. I won’t try to talk about video cameras, since it’s not something I know anything about.)

For phones, investing in a smartphone gimbal or stabilizer can help reduce shake in your videos. With cameras, you’ll likely find you need a tripod to stabilize the video. Keep in mind that heavier zoom lenses require studier tripods.

Aerial photography and videography has really taken off (pun intended) lately, so a drone camera might be another thing you want to invest in.

How to Publish Your Content and Gain a Following

A smartphone with social media icons, in front of an airport or mall store

If you only want to create content for your own enjoyment, that’s totally fine! You may have a series of journals that you’ve kept during your travels, or a hard drive full of photos that help you relive the memories.

But if you want to gain influence and exposure as a content creator, you’ll need to publish your content somewhere so that people can find and follow you. 

Here are some places to publish that amazing content you’ve created.

Your Own Blog

No matter what kind of content you create, your own blog is a place to develop your brand, tell your story, and share your content.

A blog doesn’t necessarily require you to write much. We generally think of blogs as having lots of articles (also called “posts”). But a photographer may have a blog that they only use to share their photos, with just enough writing to describe the images.

I believe every content creator should have their own blog, even if it’s not their primary source of exposure. Your own blog is something that you can control, and it’s not subject to the whims of other platforms. (Video-less photographers still trying to get exposure on Instagram know what I’m talking about!)

Some other benefits of your own blog are:

  1. Visitors aren’t exposed to your competitors’ content at the same time.
  2. If you keep a mailing list – which you absolutely should – you can collect subscribers from your blog. Try doing that from a social media account only!
  3. It strengthens your brand, from photos of yourself to a domain name that matches your brand name.


Writers can also distribute content on, a website for writers and readers. This is a good way to get exposure for your writing, especially if you can get content accepted to Medium publications.

Medium allows you to monetize your writing too, and many people have made a great income using Medium. Readers pay a small fee to subscribe, and your revenue comes out of that platform fee.


Video producers can share content in a number of places, but the most obvious one (other than social media, mentioned next) is on YouTube. YouTube is the de facto standard for almost any kind of video. 

Hosting video on your own website can be expensive, as files are large, requiring lots of storage space, and bandwidth (transferring data across the internet) costs money. Putting them on Youtube helps them get found, and if you also have a blog, you can embed your YouTube videos on your website too. (Did you know is the second-most visited website in the world, after Google?)

Social Media

Social media is probably the most common type of outlet for travel influencers. This is because the platforms have such a larger number of users, and influencers can interact with their community using the tools provided.

Here are some common social media platforms for different types of content.

  1. Instagram – once a photo-sharing platform, Instagram now features video even more than photos. But both are still common. I would also bet that Instagram still is the most desirable platform for brands wanting to work with influencers.
  2. TikTok – designed for short-form video, this platform is one of the most recent entries but has experienced tremendous growth. It’s so popular that Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube have followed suit with support for short-form videos. This is the place to be if you make travel videos. Another note: it’s easy to use the same video across multiple platforms.
  3. Facebook – the largest social media network that exists, this platform has somewhat declined in popularity since it made its algorithm particularly difficult for “pages” aka brands. It also skews towards an older crowd, but if that describes your audience, it may be worth investing some time in. 
  4. Twitter – yep, people still use Twitter! You can share photos and video, but of course, your tweets are limited to 280 characters. So where you may see Instagram captions that are almost blog posts themselves, you won’t see this on Twitter, unless it’s done as a series of tweets. Twitter is best used to interact with your audience rather than to drive traffic, but if your audience is engaged, you can still recommend brands and products to them when done in a conversational way.

Some other platforms are LinkedIn, for job hunters and business connections; Vero, a newer photography-based platform; and 500px, also for photos.

No matter what network(s) you choose, you need to learn how to use them and dedicate time to interacting with the community that you build on each platform.

Producing Content for Others

You don’t have to be responsible for publishing your own content, especially if you’re not trying to be an influencer. You can produce content that gets exposed in more traditional ways.

For example, writers may contribute travel pieces to magazines and newspapers, or even to other people’s blogs, and get paid for their writing.

Photographers can get hired to produce images (or videos) for destinations, such as hotels, who pay for their travel expenses as well as for the resulting photos or videos provided to them for their own use.

Woman in yellow romper eating breakfast while talking on a phone and working on a laptop, overlooking the ocean with mountains in the background

How to Monetize Your Travel Content

Here’s the nitty gritty – getting paid to produce travel content.

If you’re writing your own blog, the two most common ways to monetize it are to serve ads or to link to affiliate products. Sponsored content is still around, but less popular than it used to be, while brand partnerships are big in social media.

Selling Ad Space

To serve ads, you may work out private arrangements with companies to advertise on your blog. This is the most profitable way to earn money from ads, but also the hardest to manage. Many people use an ad network instead, such as Google Adsense, Ezoic, or Mediavine. The ad network displays ads for its customers, and you get a cut of the money they earn. If you have enough traffic, this can be quite lucrative and could even replace a full-time income.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing means you link to a product for sale, and if someone clicks your link and then buys the product, you earn a commission.

Not just any links work, though; you need to apply to become an affiliate and then use special links that track traffic coming from your website. That’s how the seller (or affiliate company) knows to pay you!

Again, your earnings will be dependent on your traffic, but also on the products you promote. 

Sponsored Blog Content

Sponsored blog content is where someone pays you to publish content on your blog that benefits them. Examples include a guest post used to drive traffic to their website via links, or a review to convince people to buy their product.

Generally you will be paid for the content they provide, or you will be paid more to write it yourself. There are specific rules you need to follow relating to sponsored content, to prevent your website from being penalized by Google.

Brand Partnerships

Similar to sponsored blog content, there is sponsored social media content, usually in the form of brand partnerships. This is where a brand – such as a hotel, a tourism board, or a travel-related product – wishes to promote its offerings to your followers. 

Like sponsored blog content, the content could be created by the brand or by yourself, but usually the photos are your own, because that suggests more of an endorsement and resonates better with your audience than a photo or video the brand provides. In exchange for your posting the sponsored content, they will pay you as well.

A Note About Payment

With any of these options, you may be paid in actual money. You might simply be paid by being given a free product, or your travel expenses to a particular destination might be covered as well. Many times it’s a combination of these.

It’s up to you to determine whether your time is worth what’s being offered. Feel free to negotiate, and to turn down sponsorships that you don’t feel are worth your time. Finally, make sure all payment (whether cash or freebies) are outlined in advance and agreed to in writing. The more specific your contract, the better it will cover any misunderstandings!


As you can see, there are many ways to be a travel content creator. Whether you choose to monetize your efforts by being a travel influencer or running your own blog, is up to you. 

You’ll typically get out of this what you put into it. Don’t be afraid to start slow, if you want, or go ahead and jump in with both feet if your finances and risk-taking principles allow!

Did you like this post? Here are some other related posts you may find useful:

5 Ideas to Monetize Your Travel Blog – This post will help you turn your new or existing blog into a revenue stream. Find out different ways to use your blog to supplement or even replace your regular income.

Build an Amazing Travel Photography Business with Social Media – If you want to build a following on social media, particularly as a photographer, here’s how.

Florida Travel

8 Popular Water Sports in Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is a great place to vacation. It lies along the eastern coast of Florida, about halfway between Jacksonville and Miami, and it has a vibrant surf scene. With fun family activities and great restaurants, you’re sure to find lots to entertain everyone in your party.

But let’s face it – you’ve probably come to Florida for the weather, the sunshine, and the beautiful ocean! So if you’re looking to get out into the water, here are some of the best water sports in Cocoa Beach to enjoy on your Florida vacation.


Surfing in Cocoa beach

Surfing has to be the #1 sport in Cocoa Beach! After all, it’s famous as being the home of champion surfer Kelly Slater, as well as the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop!

Cocoa Beach features decent-sized waves that are easy enough for beginners, but still offer challenges and excitement for surfing veterans. And the warm Gulf Stream waters can be enjoyed year-round.

The community is tight-knit yet open, and there are lots of great places to surf. The most obvious, though the most crowded, is of course the Cocoa Beach Pier. Here you will find locals and tourists all lining up to catch a wave. But as you head south, you’ll find plenty of other beaches for surfing as well, such as at Lori Wilson Park. The beaches along Patrick Space Force Base are excellent and a short 10-15 minute drive south of Cocoa Beach. Go a bit further and you’ll find Satellite Beach and then Melbourne Beach, all with prime surf spots.

If you’re just learning to surf, then lessons might be in order. There are several companies that offer them, including Cocoa Beach Surf School, Ron Jon Surf School, and School of Surf. If you’re coming from out of state or out of country, and can’t bring your own board, then you can rent one from Cocoa Beach Surf Company, A1A Outdoors, and Oceansports World.


Ocean Kayaking

Kayaking is another fun watersport and there are tons of places to kayak in, or near, Cocoa Beach. Bring your kayak or rent them locally, and try kayaking the ocean or the intracoastal waterway – known as the Banana and Indian Rivers here in Brevard County – or in the marshes and waterways that make up the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to the north of Cocoa Beach.

Looking for something unique? How about a bioluminescence kayak tour?! Between July and October each year, dinoflagellates in the waters of the Indian and Banana Rivers glow whenever the water is disturbed. Our local comb jellyfish do as well (plus, they don’t sting!). Some places even offer clear kayaks, so you can see the bio through your boat.

Try to plan for these tours when there is little or no moonlight, so the contrast between the glowing creatures and the ambient light is greater.

Some tour companies that offer bioluminescence tours are BK Adventure and Cocoa Kayaking.

Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Stand-up paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding has become all the rage over the last decade. It’s easier than surfing, but not exactly easy to do! And it’s a great workout.

A paddleboard looks like a long surfboard, and can be used in the ocean or the intracoastal, or really just about anywhere. If you’re just starting out, you may want to kneel on the board (and stay in still waters) while you get the hang of it. Later on you cna graduate to standing, and then venture out among the ocean waves, too!

If you paddleboard in the Indian River rather than the ocean, you may even get to see manatees, especially during the winter.



Windsurfing is another popular water sport in Cocoa Beach, especially along the “beachline”, highway 528, between Merritt Island and Cocoa Beach. (Don’t be surprised if you hear locals call it the “beeline”, the highway’s old name. We’re nostalgic!)

Windsurfing involves a sail, similar to one on a sailboat, that’s attached to a special surfboard. Rather than having ocean waves propel you forward, the motion is powered by the wind. This is another great workout in disguise – your arms and shoulders are sure to be tired after a fun day windsurfing!

For lessons and rentals, visit Calema Watersports. They also offering sailing!



Would you prefer to be high over the water, rather than in it? If you’re not afraid of heights, then parasailing is for you!

Parasailing involves getting strapped into this contraption with a parachute attached, then pulled along behind a boat. As the boat accelerates, you’re lifted higher and higher. The views are unmatched! You can even parasail in tandem, so you can enjoy the experience with a friend or loved one. You’ll get to experience the sea with a birds-eye view!

If parasailing in Cocoa Beach sounds like fun, contact Cocoa Beach Parasail. They’re located in nearby Cape Canaveral.

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing with snapper

Deep sea fishing is a popular sport, not to mention a great way to catch your dinner! Cocoa Beach’s location on the coast and proximity to the Gulf Stream means there are ample opportunities for deep sea fishing.

Fishing is plentiful year round, and you may catch species such as mackerel, amberjack mahi mahi (dolphin), grouper, cobia, snapper, bonita, cobia (my favorite!), jack, sailfish, or even a shark!

Or, if you prefer, there’s inshore fishing too, where you might catch redfish, trout, snook, tarpon, and black drum.

There are a ton of companies that can take you out fishing, some of which are Sea Leveler, Fin and Fly, and Lagooner. You can find many others on Google.

Jet Ski

Jet Ski rental

Not for the faint of heart, jet skiing is a high-speed adventure kind of water sport. Depending on the model, you may be able to go as fast as 50-70 miles per hour. Adrenaline junkies love this activity because it’s so thrilling and fun, making it one of the most popular Cocoa Beach water sports! If you are vacationing in the area and want to rent a jet ski, check out Cocoa Surf and Ski. In addition to jet skis, they also have boats rentals as well as kayaks, and paddleboards.

Airboat Rides

Airboat Rides

If you want an experience unique to Florida, then you need to take an airboat ride. I left this for last since it’s not really in Cocoa Beach, but it’s not far either.

If you’re not familiar with airboats, these are a sight to see. Imagine a skiff or small fishing boat with a GIANT fan behind it! The fan propels the boat at high speeds, through tidal creeks and around tight turns. It’s a great way to get out in nature, and to have some adventure too. Different companies have various approaches; I’ve done airboat ride that were all about the speed and thrill, and others that focused more on wildlife and sightseeing. Before you commit, ask what kind of boat tour they provide.

Most airboat rides are done in marshland, so you won’t find them in Cocoa Beach, but a quick trip west of Cocoa (a distinct town from Cocoa Beach) will take you to the waters around the St. John’s River. While on your trip you’ll likely see alligators and turtles, wading birds like egrets and herons, and water-based insects such as dragonflies. The marsh is actually very beautiful, and if you’ve never spent time in it, I highly encourage it.

Companies that do airboat rides close to Cocoa Beach are Instagator, Airboat Rides Melbourne, and Central Florida Airboat Tours.


As you can see, there are tons of options for spending your vacation time on, in, or above the central Florida waters when you visit Cocoa Beach. From the fast and thrilling to the slow and easy, you’re sure to find an enjoyable outing no matter what your preferences are! Cocoa Beach is a wonderful place in Florida to visit, or to live!

Florida Travel

7 of the Best Cocoa Beach Restaurants

If you’ve spent much time on our website, you know how much we value a delicious meal and the right ambiance. Cocoa Beach, Florida is one of our favorite “staycation” towns due to its proximity to our home. So we get a lot of chances to eat out there! Here are some of the best Cocoa Beach restaurants.

1. 4th Street Fillin Station

Avocado toast at 4th Street Fillin Station
Avocado toast at 4th Street Fillin Station

One of the trendiest (in a good way) restaurants in Cocoa Beach is 4th Street Fillin Station. They have an amazing breakfast/brunch and they’re even open for brekkie 7 days a week. They serve lunch and dinner and everything in between, and they’re open late, too.

The menu is extensive and has something for everyone. If you’re in the mood for tacos, sandwiches, burgers, or salads, you can’t beat them. There’s just so much to choose from! My favorite dishes are the avocado toast and jammer biscuit for breakfast, and their bulgogi tacos for lunch or dinner. Speaking of bulgogi, the 4th Street Bloody (Mary) is superb, and it has bulgogi sauce in it. (Bulgogi is a Korean dish of marinated beef.)

Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are available all day long, so whether you want a mimosa with brunch, a craft beer, or something harder, they’ve got you covered.

4th Street Fillin Station outdoor patio

We always sit outside in the back area. The large fans keep it from being too hot in the summer time, and it’s just such a cool patio area.

They’re located at… well, 4th street! Specifically, the corner of N 4th Street and A1A (aka N. Orlando Avenue).

View their Website | Map

2. Florida Fresh Grill

In Florida we love our fresh seafood, and no one serves it up better than Florida Fresh Grill. This is a dinner-only location that’s nice enough for date night, but casual enough for a family get-together. My favorite dish here is the Corvina, a light and flaky fish that’s mild but delicious.

For those that don’t care for seafood, they also have amazing steaks and a couple of other non-fish entrees that I haven’t tried. Wine, cocktails, and beer are available, and you simply have to save room for dessert. Might I suggest the key lime pie?!

The wait staff needs to be mentioned here too. They are absolutely fabulous, professionals in every aspect. We’ve only ever experienced amazing service at Florida Fresh Grill.

Located in the Publix shopping center that’s just south of the big surf shops. Their address is 2039 N Atlantic Ave. Don’t let the strip mall location fool you; it’s absolutely worth a visit!

View their Website | Map

3. Rising Tide Tap and Table

A fresh fish special at Rising Tide Tap and Table
A fresh fish special at Rising Tide Tap and Table

If you want to spend time in the port (Port Canaveral, that is, just north of and adjacent to Cocoa Beach), then you have lots of choices. None are bad, but many of them are similar to each other. Not Rising Tide, though – they truly stand apart, and in the best ways possible.

First of all, during happy hour, they have unique and delicious munchies at great prices, such as pimiento cheese and crackers, and chicharrons. The shishi peppers are tasty and especially fun in a group setting, because only some of them are hot – but when you get a hot one, you’ll know it! There’s no way to tell which ones have the most kick except just to try it.

Their beer menu is extensive, featuring local crafts, international favorites, and more. And of course, they have amazing cocktails and a great selection of wine, too.

For an entrée, you can’t beat the filet and fingerlings. The taste and presentation are both top notch, and the potatoes and broccolini are almost as good as the steak itself. We also like the belly burger and the fun-guy flatbread pizza. Their daily specials are always spot on, too.

Located in the Port, at 523 Glen Cheek Dr, Port Canaveral.

Visit their Website | Map

4. Jazzy’s Mainely Lobster

lobster roll
I scarfed down my last lobster roll without taking a picture, so here’s a stock photo for now…

Jazzy’s is one of our favorite places to eat in Cocoa Beach because it’s unique. Many times if you choose lobster in a Florida restaurant, you’ll get Florida lobster. They’re different from “real” Maine lobsters, as Florida lobsters don’t have claws and they do have long spiky antennae. Now before I start a riot, I will say that both are quite good! But when nothing but Maine lobster will do, it’s time to visit Jazzy’s.

Jazzy’s is casual, in tune to the beach lifestyle and perfect for vacationers. We love their lobster rolls, and you can get an entire lobster as well, if you’ve got the appetite! Other shellfish offerings include calamari, snow crab legs, clams, oysters, and much more. They have fresh fish, too, including mahi and tuna. There are even a few non-seafood choices for people who prefer it. And parents will appreciate their kids’ menu choices.

They also have a seafood market, if you’d rather buy fresh ingredients and make your own dishes at home (or your vacation accommodation of choice!)

Located at 210 N. Orlando Avenue.

Visit their Website | Map

5. The Fat Snook

The Fat Snook is our go-to anniversary dinner restaurant! It’s a true treat for foodies, with special ambiance and some of the most amazing food I’ve had anywhere. Treat yourself to a multiple-course menu with their delightful options.

Of course, there are always specials, and I tend to lean towards those for something different. However, from the main menu, the seared scallops are incredible. The fish entrée is always good and unexpected, but if you don’t like fish, the grilled duck is to die for! For dessert, you must try the bananas foster if available.

Located at 2464 S Atlantic Ave.

Visit their Website | Map

6. Zarrella’s Italian

White pizza at Zarrella's Italian in Cape Canaveral
White pizza at Zarrella’s – I think we added prosciutto to this

There are Italian restaurants actually in Cocoa Beach, but in our experience they’ve been hit-or-miss. So our suggestion for Italian – including pizza – is a short drive north on A1A to Port Canaveral. Just past the pink elephant (part of a putt putt course) you’ll find Zarrella’s.

Zarrella’s is great for both their wood-fired pizza and, at dinner, their more traditional entrees. My personal favorite is the chicken piccata, while my husband almost always chooses the veal parmesan. There are also weekly and nightly specials to choose from. For appetizers, the fried mozzarella (a square, not cheese sticks) and the fried calamari are equally delicious choices.

They also have beer, wine, and cocktails. While I’m on this subject, you’ll find Dragonpoint IPA at Zarrella’s and at a lot of the restaurants around Cocoa Beach. It’s a really good IPA beer from Intracoastal Brewing in nearby Melbourne. If you like IPAs, be sure to give this one a shot!

Zarrella’s is located at 8801 Astronaut Blvd #103, Cape Canaveral

Visit their Website | Map

7. Long Doggers

Long Doggers is a casual indoor/outdoor chain across Brevard County. The one in Cocoa Beach is located on the Causeway just west of The Dinosaur Store. They have good food and drinks, and all of their locations are popular among locals.

Long Doggers is based on a surfing theme, so if you’ve spent your day on the water and want to stick with the theme, come here! You’ll find many of their dishes named accordingly. The décor features surfboards and you’ll even find surfing competitions on the TVs much of the time. If you’re visiting Cocoa Beach for the surfing lifestyle, then this is the perfect compliment. It’s also great for families.

I really like their summer salad, tico pico bowl, and Florida Rueben, which is made with fried grouper instead of corned beef. The actually have quite an extensive hot dog menu. The clam strips are delicious, but keep in mind that they use cornmeal breading – if you don’t like that, shy away from offerings like their fish-n-chips. (Which is otherwise delicious, so if you like cornmeal breading, go for it!)

Most Long Doggers have only beer and wine, but the Cocoa Beach location also has mixed liquor drinks, including “buckets” that you can take to the beach.

There’s a large section of kids meal offerings (found under “Groms”, slang for kids who surf or skateboard). Plus, kids get a free frozen treat after lunch or dinner. Adults get Jolly Ranchers, so be prepared to fight over the watermelon-flavored ones.

Located at 350 W Cocoa Beach Causeway (Highway 520)

Visit their Website | Map


If you’re coming to Cocoa Beach for your Florida vacation, then you’ve got a ton of choices for where to eat. This post only covers a few of the many Cocoa Beach restaurants found in or near the town, but in our opinions these are some of the best. It won’t be hard to find something that offers meal options for your entire party.

You’ll notice we don’t mention anything at the Cocoa Beach pier. In our opinion, the pier is overpriced for what you get, especially when you add in the high cost of parking. However, it can be fun if you’re looking for a bar to drink and hang out, and especially if you’re staying close enough to walk.

Be sure to check out our suggestions for things to do in Cocoa Beach, too!

United States

Things to Do in Asheville for Nature Lovers

Asheville, North Carolina is a beautiful city that’s a popular place to visit in the southeast United States. It’s known for its adventurous spirit and hippie vibe, and is filled with wonderful shops, restaurants, and breweries. But its location in the Appalachian Mountains means that it’s also close to many fun activities for nature lovers.

Below are some of our favorite things to do in Asheville if you love wildlife and the great outdoors.

The North Carolina Arboretum

If you love plants, then the North Carolina Arboretum is a must-do. Located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Arboretum features different gardens as well as a number of hiking paths. Each of these gives you different exposure to the North Carolina outdoors.

Quilt Garden at the North Carolina Arboretum
Quilt Garden at the North Carolina Arboretum

My favorite garden here is the Quilt Garden. It’s a grid of planted squares with concrete paths in between, planted in such a way that it looks like a quilt. They change the plants seasonally, so if you go at different times of the year, you’ll get to see different “quilts”. Just beside the garden is a raised area that lets you get a more aerial view so you can truly see what the quilt looks like.

Rocky Cove Railroad Exhibit at the North Carolina Arboretum
Rocky Cove Railroad Exhibit at the North Carolina Arboretum

Some other gardens that I really like are the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the Stream Garden. And I just adore the Rocky Cove Railroad, which is an entire landscape designed around a model train system.

The Arboretum also features several hiking trails of different lengths ranging from a quarter mile to just over a mile. We visited during Arbor Evenings, when the feature live music along with wine and beer. So since it was close to dark, we only did part of a trail. But it ended by Willow Pond, where we saw a lot of butterflies and even a hummingbird moth!

Hummingbird Moth at the North Carolina Arboretum
Hummingbird Moth at the North Carolina Arboretum

There is a nominal entrance fee to visit.

Botanical Gardens at Asheville

Another great place for plant lovers is the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. It’s located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and it features a half-mile walking trail and a small stream. The gardens focus on native plans, which are useful for maintaining the ecosystems in any location. As such, you won’t find as many cultivated plants as you will at the Arboretum, but the botanical gardens are no less beautiful, just different.

There are benches and picnic tables throughout, as well as a gazebo and the historical Hayes Cabin. (Click here for a photo of the cabin on Flickr.)

Entry is free but donations are encouraged.

Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

If birds are your thing, then you have to go to north Asheville’s Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. The land was originally slated for retail shopping, but in 1988 after raising $400,000, the Blue Ridge Audubon Chapter of the Audubon Society purchased the land. They restored it, added interpretive signs and benches, and built an inner path for walkers and birdwatchers, and an outer trail for runners.

There’s a parking lot for easy access, and right as you enter you’ll see purple martin houses and a faux “chimney” built to house area chimney swifts. We didn’t see the swifts, but there were two purple martins sitting outside the house.

From the parking lot, if you take the path to the left, it will take you to the edge of Beaver Lake, where we saw a song sparrow and two green herons. The path is circular so you’ll get to the lake either way. In the middle is a beautiful wild area full of native plants, where we saw a ruby-throating hummingbird darting among the flowers.

Some other bird species we saw were an indigo bunting, and nesting American goldfinches.

Some sites online mention that they offer guided tours here every Saturday. We found that information to be outdated, so we enjoyed the sanctuary independently. After emailing with Audubon’s past president, Tom Tribble, I found out that they do the guided walks here only on the first Saturday of each month, at 8am between April and September, and at 9am during the remaining months.

There is no fee to park or enter.

WNC Nature Center

The WNC Nature Center is a zoo, but it focuses on animals native to Western North Carolina. Here you can see foxes and wolves, bobcats and cougars (aka mountain lions), as well as bears, snakes, birds, and more. Most of their animals are unable to be released due to either a previous injury or because they imprinted on humans early in their development. As such, they serve as ambassador animals to help educate visitors.

The nature center caters especially to children, and they offer popup animal encounters (ever wanted to pet a snake?), nature-inspired play areas, and even gem and fossil mining activities.

There is a small entrance fee per person.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville sits right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive that links the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

An overlook from the Blue Ridge Parkway looking east
An overlook from the Blue Ridge Parkway looking east

Not for the faint of heart, the Blue Ridge Parkway has winding roads, up- and downhill climbs, and can be a bit scary or nauseating for those with a fear of heights or who suffer from motion sickness. But if you like these drives, the scenery is amazing.

You can get onto the parkway from several locations within Asheville, and on it you’ll find a number of things to do. We got on the parkway and headed north, and made our first stop at Folk Art Center at Milepost 382. Inside were beautiful displays of artisan works, as well as a store that carries many arts and crafts from local artists.

From there, we continued north to the Craven Gap Trail, where we saw some butterflies and hiked a bit of a trail that was mildly challenging and quite fun. We randomly picked this hike because it was labelled as the only place a United States President has visited the Blue Ridge Parkway; President and First Lady Obama hiked here in 2010. (I’m not sure how they know that no other president ever stepped foot on the parkway, though!)

Glassmine Falls overlook from the Blue Ridge Parkway
Glassmine Falls overlook from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Further north we found the Craggy Gardens visitors’ center at milepost 364.4, then we kept going to the overlook for Glassmine Falls at milepost 361.2. Unfortunately the falls were almost completely dry, and it required binoculars to even see the bare trickle of water present. However, we did see a beautiful cedar waxwing from the overlook, so all wasn’t lost! We also saw a lot of swallowtail butterflies.

All in all, the Blue Ridge Parkway is worth a drive at least once in your life, and more if you enjoy it or want to do many of the hikes whose trailheads are on the parkway.

Appalachian Trail

Speaking of hiking, those who enjoy this activity will love to get in some section hiking of the Appalachian Trail. This famous trail extends from Springer Mountain, Georgia all the way to Katahdin, Maine. And it goes right through Asheville, which is super convenient!

A North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail
A North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail

There are a number of hikes you can do along the trail that are easy to get to from Asheville. I personally haven’t hiked the trail here in Asheville; I’ve only done a section of it near the original Nantahala Outdoor Center near Bryson City, NC, about a 90-minute drive west of Asheville. So I’ll point you to two other resources where you can learn more: and

Elk Watching in Cataloochee Valley

Cataloochee Valley is about an hour west of Asheville by car. It’s fairly close to the popular area known as Maggie Valley. Here you’ll find actual wild elk!

An antlered male elk in fall in North Carolina.
An antlered male elk in fall in North Carolina. Photo by Kim Clark.

Elk used to be common in the North Carolina mountains, but habitat loss and hunting decimated their populations. In 2001 several organizations including the National Park Service began working to reintroduce the species to the area. It’s pretty easy to find them early in the morning or around sunset, even from your car, during the spring, summer, and fall. They are not seen as often during the winter.

Elks shed their antlers in the spring, so if you want to see an antlered male, your changes are better in the summer (when the new antlers are in velvet) or during the mating season (“rutting season”) in the fall.

As you can see, there are many things that nature lovers can enjoy in and around Asheville. Every season brings different activities, so plan your visit according to what you want to see and do. Asheville is an amazing city with so many cultural and nature-related activities that you’re sure to never get bored. In fact, you’ll probably leave and immediately start planning a return trip (like I did!) to see everything you missed the first time around!

Travel & Dining United States

5 Delicious Asheville Breweries You Cannot Miss – Plus a Map!

There’s a good reason that Asheville, North Carolina holds the nickname “Beer City, USA”. According to, it has more breweries per capita than any other place in the United States! With some many great Asheville Breweries to choose from, how will you decide?

Our take: visit them all!

Granted, you may not have a long enough vacation for that. So here are some of our favorite Asheville Breweries and the ones that put them on the map. We do recommend that you make time for one or two Asheville brewery tours, too.

Highland Brewing Company

Highland Brewing entrance at twilight, Asheville, North Carolina.
Highland Brewing entrance at sunset. Photo credit Monica Miles

Highland Brewing initiated Asheville into the beer scene when it opened in 1994 in downtown Asheville. It was started by a retired engineer from Charlotte. They produce a variety of beers that are popular in the southeast region, but distribution is local; we can’t even get it here in Florida. Their Gaelic Ale is the one that started it all, but their offerings include several IPAs, a pilsner and a porter, and seasonal offerings as well. (They get bonus points for offering an autumn brew that isn’t pumpkin-flavored.)

Their downtown taproom is convenient to all of the restaurants and shops in the area, as well as other breweries. But the highlight of this operation is their main taproom in East Asheville. It’s here that they offer 50-minute tours for $15 a ticket (if you’re 21 years or older). But the property is family-friendly and has two event spaces plus volleyball courts, a disc golf course, and a hiking trail.

Pro Tip: Hit the rooftop beer garden for the exquisite beers and gorgeous views!

Highland Brewing Company
Main Campus
12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite 200
Asheville, NC 28803
Phone: (828) 299-3370

Downtown Taproom (inside S&W Market)
56 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

Wicked Weed Brewing

Wicked Weed was my one “must do” brewery on our 2022 Asheville vacation. I love their beers, and had heard lots of good things about their downtown location. Apparently there’s often a line of people waiting to get in, so we got there for an early lunch on a weekday, and were seated right away in their outside area.

Front entrance of the main Wicked Weed Brewing location in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina.
Wicked Weed Brewing entrance. We ate outside, off to the left of this photo.

I personally didn’t know the story behind the name “Wicked Weed”. I got my first hint when I walked through the inside area and saw a HUGE mural of King Henry VIII on the wall. If you know me, you know I love medieval London, and though Henry VIII is a bit past my area of interest, he’s still pretty fascinating. Also not someone whose face you’d expect to find on the wall of a North Carolina brewery…

The menu cleared up my confusion. Apparently Henry VIII is quoted as saying that hops (a major ingredient of many beers) is a “pernicious and wicked weed”. Holy cow! A shortly-after-medieval-era king’s quote was the inspiration for the name! I think this was just perfect.

Wicked Weed Brewing outdoor seating with beer flight (sampler) and menu.
Classic Beer Flight, Wicked Weed

The four of us (husband and teen daughters) had lunch here and we all enjoyed our food. I also ordered the Classic Flight, which consists of their Pernicious Ale (IPA), Day Light (American Light Ale), Freak of Nature (Double IPA), and S’mores (Imperial Stout) beers. They were all really delicious. Next time I would try the Hoppy flight, but I wanted a variety and some that I hadn’t already tried back here at home.

Food-wise, I ordered the Carolina Bison Burger with pimiento cheese and bacon jam. SO GOOD! My family enjoyed the shrimp po’boy, kale Caesar salad, and Cubano sandwich.

Their daily brewpub tours are free, but participants must be 21, so we didn’t join one, unfortunately. We’ll have to go back later. I would definitely come here again! Also it’s really conveniently located in downtown, and a short walk to shopping areas like the Grove Arcade, as well as a number of other breweries.

Wicked Weed Brewing
91 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 575-9599

147 Coxe Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

(There’s a Wicked Weed West in Candler, NC as well.)

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Front entrance to Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina.
Sierra Nevada entrance. Photo credit: Monica Miles

Sierra Nevada Brewery is located outside of Asheville in a town called Mills River. It’s halfway between Asheville and Hendersonville, so it’s a place to stop if you’re travelling between the two communities, or perhaps on your way back from a show at the Flat Rock Playhouse.

The property is huge, so don’t be surprised when you drive up! The taproom is separate from the restaurant, and both are worth a visit. Their food is farm-to-table and locally sourced, so expect fresh ingredients with a dash of the chef’s creativity.

The back area has a beer garden where you can sip one of their many beer offerings while enjoying the scenery. Or take a stroll through the beautiful Mills River Estate Garden, which is full of flowers during the warmer months. Outdoor areas are dog-friendly so feel free to bring your pup!

Make sure to head upstairs to see the production facility, or if there’s space, join the official tour to find out all about their approach to beer. Their tasting tour is, of course, for ages 21 and up. But some of their other tours are ages 12+, so if you have tweens/teens you’ll be glad to know they can tag along if they meet the age requirement. The tours have a small fee associated with them.

Sierra Nevada Brewing
100 Sierra Nevada Way
Mills River, NC 28732
(828) 708-6242

New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium Brewery campus in Asheville, North Carolina.
New Belgium Brewing. Photo credit: Monica Miles

New Belgium Brewing’s “Liquid Center”, or tasting room, is located in the River Arts district, in the southwest part of Asheville and along the beautiful French Broad River. They offer a very popular tour of their facility, which you can join on the spot, or reserve in advance by phone or email. This tour is especially kid-friendly, and you’ll find a surprise slide at the end, plus other fun photo spots. The tour teaser is free for all ages; others are free for kids under 5.

There’s no restaurant on-site, but a rotating selection of food trucks will satisfy any hungry appetite for food. If you’re here for the beer – as most people are – you’ll enjoy their signature Fat Tire amber ale. It was named after tires on a mountain bike during the founder’s time in Europe, and also gives nod to the sport that is popular in both Asheville as well as the mountains of Colorado where the company is headquartered.

Their Voodoo Ranger line includes an IPA, an Imperial IPA, as well as hazy versions of both. This is definitely a brewery that caters to the India Pale Ale crowd! They also brew a sour and a couple of lagers. And just in case you’re visiting with friends or family who aren’t beer drinkers, you’ll also find their hard seltzer to be a pleasing alternative.

New Belgium Brewing
21 Craven Street
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 333-6900

Bhramari Brewing Co.

Front entrance to Bhramari, an Asheville Brewery in the South Slope area.
Entrance and outside porch at Bhramari in Asheville’s South Slope

Bhramari Brewing Co. was on my list because I adore their Neon Ghosts IPA. I have to admit that I sometimes have a tendency to buy a beer because I like the label, and this is one such beer. It’s covered with an illustration of psychedelic eyeballs that somehow speaks to me. After buying it based on the packaging, I was super pleased to find I loved the beer inside just as much! It’s a New England IPA with Mosaic and El Dorado hops.

We visited their brewery toward the end of our day in downtown Asheville, so I grabbed a pint of Neon Ghosts, knowing I loved it. My husband ordered a Murder on the Mountain black kolsch, and I got a taste and liked it a lot too. Sometimes he tries something and doesn’t like it, but he liked this one – I only got one taste before he finished it!

Inside seemed a bit grungy, but the staff was nice and helpful. The outdoor porch area was casual and fun for our family and my sister and her kids as well.

The food is a little odd – my sister’s salad had popcorn on it. They also charge a hefty “service fee” on your beer and food bill, and anything extra (like a side of ranch dressing) has yet another charge. So while I do love the beer and will continue to buy it, I don’t know that I’d go back to them in person… at least not until I’ve managed to visit all the others Asheville breweries!

Bhramari Brewing
101 South Lexington Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 214.7981

Asheville Breweries Map

You asked and we delivered! Check out this custom Google Map showing all of these breweries at one time.

If you click the little icon to the left of my face in the map header, you can turn the layers off and on. One layer shows only the breweries featured in this post. The other shows all the rest.

The icons on the right side of the map header let you share the map (please do!) and to view it full screen.

Asheville Beer Festivals and Brewery Tours

A city can’t be called Beer City USA without being home to some amazing beer festivals!

The best-named festival on the list has to be Burning Can Festival. (It was supposed to be this month, but Oskar Blues’s website doesn’t mention it, or any other events, so I’m not sure. I had to mention it just for the creative name!) Other favorites are Tour de Fat Fall (New Belgium), Oktoberfest (Sierra Nevada and another multiple-brewery event as well), and the New Year’s Eve Keg Drop (Thirsty Monk).

If you’re interested in a walking tour of multiple downtown breweries, try Asheville Brewery Tours or BREW-ed. Prefer a party bus? Hit up a different set of breweries with the Party Bus Brewery Crawl from Asheville Adventure Company.

List of Asheville Breweries

Well, we’ve yet to visit all of Asheville’s breweries, so there are many not covered here. Here’s as complete a list as we’ve been able to compile from around the internet, including places that do hard cider. Keep in mind that new ones may have been added, and some may have closed, since we created this list.

Beer at Green Man Brewing, Photo credit Monica Miles.

Locations outside of Asheville are listed only by town name, but all are close.

Love Asheville? Check out our related post Things to Do in Asheville for Nature Lovers!


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